By Tony Winterburn • 31 December 2020 • 7:45
Argentina Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Jab, Rollout Expected Soon.
The coronavirus vaccine developed by the UK’s University of Oxford and British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was approved by Argentina on Wednesday, Dec. 30, making it the second nation to greenlight the jab after the UK.
The vaccine has been awarded emergency use authorization for one year, according to a statement by the National Administrator for Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT), Argentina’s health regulator. It added that access to the jab will only be permitted by prescription, explaining that it had shown an “acceptable benefit-risk balance.”
The vaccine is still undergoing a ‘rolling review’ where EMA examines safety, efficacy data, before a formal application for authorisation is filed by the manufacturer but is expected to be quickly given the all-clear by the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA), according to Klaus Cichutek, head of the German regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute.
“Once the application is submitted, a decision can be taken quickly,” he said on Wednesday, Dec. 30, highlighting the benefit of the EMA’s rolling review of the vaccine.
Earlier on Wednesday, the UK became the first to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine, the country’s second jab authorized for use after the US-German-made Pfizer/BioNTech effort, which is already being administered in a mass inoculation rollout.
Argentina began to vaccinate its citizens against the coronavirus on Tuesday, Dec. 29, administering the first of 300,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine delivered last week, the government said.
Latin America’s third-largest economy has been hard hit by COVID-19. Argentina, a country of 45 million people, has recorded nearly 1.6 million infections and almost 43,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
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